September 21, 2011 Edition

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Hoxie proceeding
with pool ordinance

Leslie Ginn
Staff Writer

The second reading of the Swimming Pool Fence Ordinance was approved after discussion at the Hoxie City Council on Sept. 13. This ordinance will affect almost everyone who wants to set up a swimming pool in Hoxie, from large in-ground pools to small plastic wading pools. A pool is defined as any structure, which has a container of water more than 12 inches deep used for swimming or bathing.

"This ordinance is all about safety. Several citizens approached me about this issue and we have produced this ordinance in response to those concerns," Hoxie Mayor Lanny Tinker said. "How sad it is when children drown in a swimming pool. With proper precautions, that just doesn't have to happen."

The ordinance will require a one-time $5 permit to be purchased before a pool can be set-up. All swimming pools must be enclosed by a four-foot tall fence and not be within seven and a half feet of the property line or within five feet of underground power lines and 10 lateral feet of overhead power lines.

All in-ground pools already lawfully in existence at the passage of the ordinance will be considered "non-conforming." Non-conforming pools are grandfathered in until June 1, 2025 as long as the owner purchases a non-conforming permit within 30 days of the passing and subsequent publication of this ordinance, (which is expected to be in October).

Penalties for violations of the Swimming Pool Fence Ordinance is a fine of $25 to $100 for each offense and each day a violation exists may be considered a separate offense. If a case regarding this ordinance is brought before a judge, court costs will be added to the violation. Contact the Hoxie City Hall or Hoxie code enforcement officer for more information.

Mayor Tinker discussed cleanup issues in the city. Fall cleanup is scheduled for October 10-21 and will begin at the northwest side of Midway Road. Items must be sorted into four categories: Metal (including appliances), wood (such as boards), brush (tree limbs are not to be longer than five feet), and general junk.

The city cannot pick up tires, shingles, batteries, or paint cans containing liquid or hazardous chemicals of any kind.

Security cameras will be installed at the city shop to monitor compliance with disposing waste according to the directions on the sign near the dumpster. Citizens also need to be aware that trash that is not in bags will not be picked up by the city except for empty cardboard boxes and paper-packing containers. Barrels of trash will no longer be dumped unless contents are bagged.

"A few people who are not complying with the guidelines are causing a great deal of problems and expense for the city," said Tinker. "Cleanup is a city-wide effort. We are asking citizens to do their part."

Two grants were discussed at the council meeting. The Hoxie Police department received a $50,000 grant from the Office of Justice Programs to be used for equipment. The police department has used the money to purchase a 2011 white Crown Vic police car, radar equipment, safety vests and other equipment including a 48 by 36 foot awning that will be placed on the west side of the police office.

Another grant, possibly up to $150,000, is being applied for to help build a new Street and Water Department building. The plan is to relocate the building to a location near the sewer pond. "This will help the center of town look better as well," said Tinker.

Due to current budget concerns, the asphalt-paving project has been reduced this year from $100,000 to $50,000, which should begin in the next two weeks.

"This amount of money will only pave about 14 blocks, but keeping Hoxie solvent is necessary," said Tinker. "We plan to asphalt some streets every year."

In other business:

  • Hoxie City Hall renovation is 50 percent completed. Appreciation was expressed for the volunteers involved. More volunteers are still needed for painting and installing floor tile.

  • Larry Couch discussed flooding problems experienced on the east side. Tinker said the drainage issues are being addressed.

  • Tinker requested all who are interested in keeping a post office in Hoxie, to bring letters or written comments to the city hall by Sept. 28 contesting the closing of the Hoxie Post Office.

  • A Dickens in the Park schedule was announced. Activities on December 1 will begin at the decorated park at 5 p.m., the parade will begin at 6 p.m., and then festivities will be moved inside the community center including the play, free hot chocolate, wassail and cookies, as well as visiting with Santa and "tea with the Queen." Those interested in helping are invited to call Katie Smith at 886-2742.

    "This is a tradition for Hoxie that we want to establish as long-term," said Karen Williams, chair of the committee.

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